Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Real Options and Environmental Policies: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
    Wesseler, J.H.H. ; Zhao, Jinhua - \ 2019
    Annual Review of Resource Economics 11 (2019). - ISSN 1941-1340 - p. 43 - 58.
    real options - environmental policy - irreversibility - precautionary principle - sustainability - technological change
    The literature on real options shows that irreversibilities, uncertainties aboutfuture benefits and costs, and the flexibility in decision making generate benefitsand costs of delaying immediate action. When applied to government policy making, real option models can lead to efficient policies that take full account of these trade-offs, but they can also cause strategic behavior that tries to delay policies through influencing important elements such as downside risks. This contribution reviews the latest developments in real option–based policy research by looking at what we know about the benefits from waiting (the good), the costs from waiting (the bad), and how strategic behavior can influence policies (the ugly). Much has been said in the literature about the good and the bad, but more work is needed to study the ugly aspects of real option–driven policies.
    The Precautionary Principle and the Tolerability of Blood Transfusion Risks
    Kramer, Koen ; Zaaijer, Hans L. ; Verweij, Marcel F. - \ 2017
    The American Journal of Bioethics 17 (2017)3. - ISSN 1526-5161 - p. 32 - 43.
    donor blood safety - MSM and blood donation - opportunity costs - precautionary principle - risk - risk-based decision-making - transfusion-transmissible infections
    Tolerance for blood transfusion risks is very low, as evidenced by the implementation of expensive blood tests and the rejection of gay men as blood donors. Is this low risk tolerance supported by the precautionary principle, as defenders of such policies claim? We discuss three constraints on applying (any version of) the precautionary principle and show that respecting these implies tolerating certain risks. Consistency means that the precautionary principle cannot prescribe precautions that it must simultaneously forbid taking, considering the harms they might cause. Avoiding counterproductivity requires rejecting precautions that cause more harm than they prevent. Proportionality forbids taking precautions that are more harmful than adequate alternatives. When applying these constraints, we argue, attention should not be restricted to harms that are human caused or that affect human health or the environment. Tolerating transfusion risks can be justified if available precautions have serious side effects, such as high social or economic costs.
    Evaluation for salt stress tolerance of pepper genotypes to be used as rootstocks
    Penella, C. ; Nebauer, S.G. ; Lopéz-Galarza, S. ; SanBautista, A. ; Gorbe, E. ; Calatayud, A. - \ 2013
    Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment 11 (2013)3&4. - ISSN 1459-0255 - p. 1101 - 1107.
    precautionary principle - basel convention - governance - negotiations - shellfish - malaysia - dioxins - fish
    Salinity is a major environmental constraint on crop productivity and grafting can be a sustainable strategy to enhance plant tolerance under adverse growth conditions. Screening different graft combinations under field conditions can be a slow and expensive processes. In this study, plants of 18 genotypes of Capsicum spp. were evaluated during 5 months to select salt tolerant plants to be used as rootstocks in greenhouse under controlled conditions. Their net photosynthetic rate was used as a rapid and sensitive methodology for screening their tolerance to salt stress conditions. The germination potential of some genotypes was also tested under different salinity conditions to see if it would be useful to accelerate the screening process. According to photosynthesis rate, the commercial rootstock ‘Tresor’ and the genotypes ‘Serrano’ (C. annuum), ‘ECU-973’ (C. chinense) and ‘BOL-58’ (C. baccatum) were the most tolerant during this period. Nevertheless, the evaluation of pepper genotypes for salinity tolerance based on the germination performance and chlorophyll fluorescence parameter Fv/Fm ratio were not good indicators of the sensitivity along plant ontogeny. Finally, the selected genotypes as salt-tolerant were validated under field conditions as rootstocks of two interesting pepper cultivars, concluding that using the rootstocks selected by the net photosynthetic rate improved the salt tolerance of the scion in terms of marketable yield and fruit quality.
    Assessment of the environmental status of the coastal and marine aquatic environment in Europe: A plea for adaptive management
    Laane, R.W.P.M. ; Slijkerman, D.M.E. ; Vethaak, A.D. ; Schobben, J.H.M. - \ 2012
    Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 96 (2012)1. - ISSN 0272-7714 - p. 31 - 38.
    estrogenic endocrine disruption - flounder platichthys-flesus - ecological risk-assessment - critical load concept - precautionary principle - north-sea - water-quality - pelagic fish - chemicals - exposure
    Policymakers and managers have a very different philosophy and approach to achieving healthy coastal and marine ecosystems than scientists. In this paper we discuss the evolution of the assessment of the chemical status in the aquatic environment and the growing rift between the political intention (precautionary principle) and scientific developments (adaptive and evidence-based management) in the context of the pitfalls and practicalities confronting the current Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The conclusion is that policymakers and water managers should move with the times and take on board new techniques that scientists are using to assess chemical status and apply new scientific developments in assessment studies of the chemical status. These new techniques, such as bioassays, are cheaper than the classic approach of checking whether concentrations of certain individual priority compounds comply with permissible thresholds. Additionally, they give more insight into the real impacts of chemical compounds
    Identifying uncertainties in judging the significance of human impacts on Natura 2000 sites
    Opdam, P.F.M. ; Broekmeyer, M.E.A. ; Kistenkas, F.H. - \ 2009
    Environmental Science & Policy 12 (2009)7. - ISSN 1462-9011 - p. 912 - 921.
    precautionary principle - ecological thresholds - decision-making - scientific uncertainty - complexity theory - science - conservation - populations - management - habitat
    In European nature conservation law, Natura 2000 sites are protected towards ensuring biodiversity through the conservation of natural habitat types and of wild fauna and flora. Anyone planning a potentially harmful activity needs to assess significant effects on a site's conservation objectives. While EU case law currently demands certainty provided by science, we will show that science can never rule out uncertainty. We distinguish three sources of uncertainty: ignorance (inadequate understanding), unpredictability of ecological system behaviour and ambiguity in the science–policy interface. Only ignorance can be solved by science alone. We will specify sources of uncertainty encountered in the significance decision procedure as part of the assessment of article 6 Habitats Directive. We will explore how they affect the use of knowledge during the three steps of the assessment process, i.e. identification of site conservation objectives, predicting the impact of the planned activity and assessing the significance of any effects on the Natura 2000 site. The claim that certainty has to be provided by science is unrealistic, because policy causes a good deal of uncertainty affecting how science can operate. This is discussed in the light of a common learning process by science and society. The European precautionary principle should not be limited to ignorance alone. Within the precautionary principle risk reduction measures can be allowed and thus uncertainties could be accepted, including those uncertainties caused by unpredictability and ambiguity. Finally we propose strategies to manage uncertainty in nature conservation and law planning
    The Rauischholzhausen agenda for road ecology
    Roedenbeck, I.A. ; Fahrig, L. ; Findlay, C.S. ; Houlahan, J.E. ; Jaeger, J.A.G. ; Klar, N. ; Kramer-Schadt, S. ; Grift, E.A. van der - \ 2007
    Ecology and Society 12 (2007)1. - ISSN 1708-3087 - 21 p.
    breeding bird populations - precautionary principle - environmental impacts - swareflex reflectors - sampling design - habitat - conservation - density - deer - biodiversity
    Despite the documented negative effects of roads on wildlife, ecological research on road effects has had comparatively little influence on road planning decisions. We argue that road research would have a larger impact if researchers carefully considered the relevance of the research questions addressed and the inferential strength of the studies undertaken. At a workshop at the German castle of Rauischholzhausen we identified five particularly relevant questions, which we suggest provide the framework for a research agenda for road ecology: (1) Under what circumstances do roads affect population persistence? (2) What is the relative importance of road effects vs. other effects on population persistence? (3) Under what circumstances can road effects be mitigated? (4) What is the relative importance of the different mechanisms by which roads affect population persistence? (5) Under what circumstances do road networks affect population persistence at the landscape scale? We recommend experimental designs that maximize inferential strength, given existing constraints, and we provide hypothetical examples of such experiments for each of the five research questions. In general, manipulative experiments have higher inferential strength than do nonmanipulative experiments, and full before-after-control-impact designs are preferable to before-after or control-impact designs. Finally, we argue that both scientists and planners must be aware of the limits to inferential strength that exist for a given research question in a given situation. In particular, when the maximum inferential strength of any feasible design is low, decision makers must not demand stronger evidence before incorporating research results into the planning process, even though the level of uncertainty may be high
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